Louisiana 2011 Legislative Analysis – House District 75

Incumbent – Harold Ritchie (D – Term Limited in 2015)

District Map

House District 75

Vote History

2008 President

  Current District New District
John McCain (R) 11726 (65%) 10377 (64%)
Barack Obama (D) 5976 (33%) 5587 (34%)
Others 276 (2%) 249 (2%)


2008 Senate

  Current District New District
Mary Landrieu (D) 8612 (49%) 7957 (50%)
John Kennedy (R) 8401 (48%) 7381 (47%)
Others 513 (3%) 457 (3%)


2010 Senate

  Current District New District
David Vitter (R) 7047 (63%) 6108 (62%)
Charlie Melancon (D) 3428 (31%) 3185 (32%)
Others 647 (6%) 594 (6%)


2010 Lt Governor

  Current District New District
Jay Dardenne (R) 7001 (63%) 6065 (62%)
Caroline Fayard (D) 4088 (37%) 3796 (38%)

Current District

House District 75 is located in the corner of the Florida Parishes and contains nearly all of Washington Parish, as well as two precincts in northeast St. Tammany Parish. The political tone of this largely rural district is set by Washington Parish, where well over 90% of the vote is cast. There is a significant (29%) black voter population here, which is up from 27% a decade ago. 

This is a district that, like most of the Florida Parishes, would vote Republican in Presidential elections but Democratic in statewide elections. This has begun to change in recent years, as Republicans have been carrying the district in statewide elections as well – in the 2010 elections, over 60% of the district vote went to Republican candidates for the Senate, Lt. Governor, and Congress. 

In legislative races, however, Democrats are dominant here, although there have been spirited elections here from time to time. From 1960 to 1988, Democrat “Buster” Sheridan represented the district until he was upset 60-40% by physician Jerry Thomas in 1987. Sheridan attempted a comeback in 1991, but got the same 40% of the vote as he got in 1987. In 1995, Thomas was held to 57% by electrical contractor Ben Nevers. When Rep. Thomas left to run for the Senate in a special election in early 1999, Nevers was then elected to the vacated House seat with 51% and was unopposed for the fall elections. He only served a term in the House, however: Senator Thomas declined to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2003, likely because of the negative fallout from being arrested in 2002 for engaging in lewd conduct during a police raid at an adult bookstore in New Orleans. Rep. Nevers was then replaced by Democrat Harold Ritchie, who was also elected in the runoff with 51% of the vote. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) Rep. Ritchie was unopposed both in 2007 and 2011, and is allowed to serve one more term.

New District

Reapportionment was a non event here: the district is located in the corner of the state surrounded by districts that had robust population growth. Additionally, District 75 itself was 3% over the population of an “ideal” district and was largely left alone: two precincts were traded between Districts 75 and 74 (represented by Republican Scott Simon). These changes caused the black voter registration to inch up from 29 to 30%. (UPDATED 9/9/2011) Even though Republicans have not (thus far) contested this district, when Rep. Ritchie’s seat opens up in 2015, they have a chance to pick this seat up.